In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I testify. This is a testimony about how my parents brought our family to believe in Christ.
Like most typical Chinese families, my grandparents were Buddhists, and its beliefs were passed on to my parents, as it had been for many generations. But neither of my parents were practicing Buddhists.
Then one day, my momâ€™s aunt told her that she went to this temple where there were real gods. Many people who had gone to that temple had received spirits from the gods.
So as not to offend her aunt, my mom carpooled to the temple with her aunt and some other friends. When they got there, my mom saw people who were possessed by the spirits, and they would talk about the past or about their previous lives.
After the gathering at the temple, when they were about to leave, they realized that the driver had locked the keys in the car. One of the passengers in the car who was also possessed by the spirits pointed her finger at the key hole, and she chanted some incantation and made an upward motion with her finger at the door lock. The door lock automatically raised and unlocked itself. From that moment on, my mom became a very fervent Buddhist.
My mom realized that there was more than just earthly life, and that there truly was a spiritual realm with spirits and gods. So, from that day on, she devoted herself to Buddhism.
A DEVOUT BUDDHIST
My mom purchased any Buddhist book that was highly acclaimed in the Buddhist society, and she would study them closely; literally following its instruction word-for-word.
She memorized all the chants and bought all the religious articles, including chanting beads, which look like rosaries, and robes. She had chanting beads of all sizes and robes of all colors for the different ceremonies and chants.
She even dedicated one of the larger bedrooms in our house as a mini temple. The bedroom contained a shrine of all the different idols and became the place where the family would do all the chants.
My mom chanted very religiously every morning and night. At that time, I was very young and did not go to school. However, I remember that my mother would make my siblings do their morning chants in front of the shrine even when they were late for school.
Aside from the chants, my mom also followed the Buddhist guidelines and teachings very closely. She was very active in donating to the temples, participating in their events and activities, and sponsoring the monks and building funds.
We also had to follow the Buddhist calendar and abstain from meat on certain days. I remember that there would practically be about twenty days of the month in which we had to abstain from meat.
Believing that every living thing had a spirit or soul, we would open the door and scoot the spider or cockroach out every time we found an insect in the house.
Although my mom was such a devout and fervent Buddhist, she never really felt peace in her heart. All the chanting and participation in the temples never really fulfilled her. However, at that time, she did not think much of it.
Then, in 1980, we immigrated to the United States. Being such fervent Buddhists, we couldnâ€™t possibly put the idols in the luggage. So, to show our respect, each member of our family hand carried one idol.
Now, when I say hand carry, I donâ€™t mean putting the idols in a carry-on bag and putting it in the overhead bin. I mean, we literally held it in our arms and put it on our laps during the flight. We didnâ€™t even care that people were looking at us funny.
RECOGNIZING THE EVIL SPIRIT
When we arrived in the United States, my dad got in touch with one of his old colleagues, Brother Ke-Chi Chen, who was a member of True Jesus Church. Brother Chen and his wife would repeatedly ask us to go to church, and being Buddhists, we naturally declined.
One day, Brother Chen told us that they were having family service at their home and again invited us. This time, my parents said yes because they didnâ€™t want to offend Brother Chen, especially since weâ€™ve turned down so many previous invitations.
My parents also figured that the service was at Brother Chenâ€™s house rather than at church, so it should be okay. However, to minimize contact with the Christian community, none of us children went.
The family service began with a sermon, after which everyone knelt down to pray. Again, not wanting to offend anyone, my parents also knelt down. But instead of praying to God in the manner instructed by the speaker, my mom prayed to her Buddha. She simply asked the Buddha to bless her and show her the way.
The next morning, my mom began to hear a voice, very clear and distinct, talking to her. In the beginning, the voice told her that it was one of the good Buddhist spirits and my mom should be honored to host it. Thinking of the spirits at the temple to which her aunt took her, my mom believed this spirit. My mom believed that the spirit had come to her after all her fervency.
Initially, the spirit would just say simple things like, "Your son will be coming home late today." But gradually, the spirit started to badmouth each member of the family.
The spirit would cause many misunderstandings and arguments in our family; it was as if it was trying to turn each member against the others. Slowly, my mom began to realize that this was not a good spirit but an evil spirit.
FINDING HELP IN THE WRONG PLACES
My mom told my dad of her suspicions and my dad agreed. Immediately, my entire family drove to Eureka, which is north of San Francisco, where there was supposed to be a very famous monk and a temple of many Buddha.
The monk was very famous in the Buddhist society and he was well-known for having many powers. The first thing the monk told us was that each member of our family had to become his disciple.
There was a discipleship fee and since he was like a celebrity in the Buddhist society, the fee was quite high. Nonetheless, my parents faithfully agreed.
To become his disciple, we each had to take turns to kneel in front of him and recite certain chants. When it came to my parents' turn to kneel in front of him, he took a stick and started hitting my parents on the shoulders with it.
He claimed that he was rebuking the evil spirit and casting it out that way. After the ritual, my mom told the monk that the evil spirit was still there. The monk told us that once we got home, the evil spirit would depart.
The monk also asked us to donate $100,000.00 for a temple fountain. My dad informed the monk that he didnâ€™t have that kind of money ready, but he wrote a check for a few thousand dollars as deposit.
When we reached home, my momâ€™s situation worsened. Not only would the evil spirit badmouth each member of the family, it would not allow my mother to sleep. At best, she would be able to sleep for two hours each night. Whenever she was about to fall asleep, the evil spirit would lift and drop her limbs to keep her awake.
The evil spirit not only spoke to her but controlled her body, too. Frequently, the evil spirit would make my mom run around the house in the middle of the night, screaming and shaking everyone up, making sure that no one else slept.
When people called, instead of saying what she wanted to say, the spirit would use her mouth and say something else. For example, when people called for my dad and he wasnâ€™t home, they would ask when he would return, and my mom would say something like, "Itâ€™s none of your business."
During all of this, my mom was very lucid. She knew what she wanted to say or do, but it was like she had no control over it. You can also imagine how my mom looked, too. Here was a person who was chronically getting no more than one to two hours of sleep. When people looked at her, they would get scared.
It was really a very terrible time for my family. We asked for advice and sought help everywhere. As long as someone said, "Hey, this temple is very famous" or "that monk is very powerful" we would go.
It didnâ€™t matter whether it was in the United States or Taiwan. We flew back and forth, just hoping to find a cure. The routine was always the same. The monks would ask us for money with the promise that my mom would be healed.
However, after giving them the money, my momâ€™s conditioned remained the same. At one point, my dad also considered the possibility that maybe there was no evil spirit and that my mom was a schizophrenic.
He even tried to hospitalize my mom at a mental institution. After two full days of observation, the doctors could not find anything wrong with my mom and released her.
So, all this happened for over one year, during which my family had no peace. My mom became very scared. We tried everything and nothing could help.
RETURNING TO THE TRUE JESUS CHURCH
My mom began to think, "Is there really no God who can stop this evil spirit?" Then, she remembered the Holy Spirit from Brother Chenâ€™s family service.
My mom figured that maybe the Holy Spirit can kick out her evil spirit. So she contacted Brother Chenâ€™s wife and told her about her situation and that she would like to go to church with her. It so happened that a spiritual convocation was about to begin the next day.
My mom warned Brother Chenâ€™s wife of her fear that the church members would be scared because my mom did look quite scary. Brother Chenâ€™s wife simply replied, "Donâ€™t worry. True Jesus Church sees a lot of these cases and we have cast out many evil spirits."
It also happened that the church encouraged people to lodge at church during the spiritual convocation week, so my mom packed up her things and went.
On the first day, the pastor who led the morning prayer laid hands on my mom, and she could hear him speak in tongues. Although she could not understand it, it was a phrase and it sounded like it was rebuking the evil spirit.
The afternoon prayer was led by a different pastor, and when he laid hands on my mom, the pastor also spoke in tongues and said the same phrase. After this experience, my mom began to put faith in God. Here were two different pastors at two different times, and yet, they were saying the same phrase to the evil spirit.
That night, when it came time for bed, my mom started to panic. She was afraid the evil spirit would keep her awake, and since it wasnâ€™t her home, she couldnâ€™t get up and walk around.
As she was thinking this, she dozed off and the next thing she knew, there was a sister ringing the bell and saying, "Itâ€™s seven oâ€™clock, time to get up for morning prayer." My mom could not believe it. This was the first time in over one year that she slept from night to morning, and she was able to sleep soundly for the entire week of the spiritual convocation.
Then, on Saturday night, the pastor asked my mom if she would be interested in getting baptized the next day. Although my mom was beginning to sleep and was feeling better, she told the pastor that the evil spirit was still inside her. But he told her not to worry and that the evil spirit will usually depart after baptism.
Putting faith in God, my mom agreed to be baptized. The night before baptism, the evil spirit became very angry. It refused to let my mom sleep. It just kept talking to her, and it would lift up my momâ€™s arms and legs and drop them to keep her up.
But my mom was not dissuaded. She relied on God and kept praying in her heart. Finally, morning arrived and she was baptized. After the baptism, we never heard from the evil spirit again.
In fact, to show how dramatic the change was, just about one week after the baptism, my parents met with some of their friends whom they saw practically every week.
My mom had not seen them for two weeks because of the spiritual convocation, and her friends were all amazed. They kept asking my dad which miracle doctor my dad took my mom to visit. And of course, my dad told them the testimony.
My dad is sixty years old, and even till this day, whenever he recalls this testimony, he cannot tell it without crying.
Truly, there was a time in my familyâ€™s life when we had no hope. It seemed like we exhausted all options. But, in God, there is always hope, and it reminds me of a song I once heard, "Promise of Joy." Here are the lyrics to one part of the song:
There is a rainbow in every teardrop.
There is a peace in every storm.
There is a stream in the desert.
Yes, there is hope in the Lord.
May all the glory and praise be unto His name.